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Stories from the Verse
Verse Three, Chapter One
Chapter 47: Hastings 17
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It was Monday morning, and Lauren was still sore from the Friday night fight. But she made it through work, then worked with Raiden in the park, and then picked up the pages he and Father James had carefully forged. The fake parchment looked good, and they had used a few tricks to make the documents look aged, all of which would work well once they were photocopied. This she took care of immediately, stopping at an office supplies store to also pick up a manila envelope so that she could keep the copies flat. On this she wrote the address of the Church of True Knowledge in Cherry Hill Father James had provided, and delivered it to the center city post office.
Next she made the rounds of the newspapers. The Inquirer seemed the big one; it was the one the hotel had sent to her room her first night in the city. But she knew that the News was a contender, and the Courier Post was important across the river. Raal knew how to find each of them, and delivered her quite quickly. Reaching the New Jersey paper, Lauren realized that she hadn't noticed crossing the river; but she wrote it off to her preoccupation with her own thoughts. At each office she found the classifieds department and placed the same ad: "Gavin: Book of Journeys pages forwarded to best address. Please contact Lauren."
Moments after leaving the Courier Post, she realized she was back in Philadelphia. "Wait a minute," she said. "Why didn't I see the river?"
"The river?" Raal looked over his shoulder at her. "Did you want to?"
"Not particularly, no; but if I travel from Philadelphia to New Jersey, don't I have to cross the Delaware River?"
"Well, in a manner of speaking, you did, ma'am. That is, you were on this side, and then you were on that side, and now you're back on this side. You just skipped the part where you were actually over the river."
"And how, pray tell, did I--we--you--do that?"
"It's a werewolf thing, that is, most of us can do it at least a little. See, there's this sort of other space. It's got lots of names. Some call it the edge, or the other place. Some say it's between the worlds, and others call it the twilight. I heard one young wolf the other day refer to it as hyperspace--and maybe that's what it is. We use it mostly to escape, as you sort of vanish when you go in, and reappear somewhere else when you come out. I'm particularly good at it--I can drive my cab through it, and almost always come out where I mean to."
"Is this something you could teach me?" Lauren asked.
"I don't rightly know, actually. I just sort of do it, so I can't say quite how. But you're welcome to watch. I'll let you know when I'm going to do it next time."
Lauren sat back in her seat. She had no idea that her allies had such hidden talents. "Raal," she said, "tell me what else werewolves can do."
"That's a tough question, actually," he began. "I mean, if I asked you what people can do, you'd probably not tell me that you can walk on two legs and see colors--the things you can do you pretty much take for granted. And everybody's different, you know. Some of us--those that more favor the wolf, if you catch my drift--can follow a scent trail a week old if the weather holds; I'm not like that, and am lucky if I can tell that someone I know was in my cab the day before. We can all change our appearance at least a little. Mostly I look pretty human, but I can get pretty hairy when I'm angry; but I've never been able to pass myself off as a dog, and I've known a few in my time who could go all the way from quite believably human to very much wolf.
"There are a lot of things that don't hurt us much. Most of us can survive steel or lead bullets, if there aren't too many of them, as we're pretty tough. Our coats can catch fire and not hurt us, as it takes a lot of heat to actually get through. But silver burns. I wear gloves when I carry paying customers, so I don't have to handle the change directly. When the moon is full, we're tougher--oh, and when there's an eclipse, we become nearly um, what's that word they use for Superman?"
"Invulnerable?" Lauren ventured.
"Yeah, that's it. At least for the few minutes that the moon is invisible, there's almost nothing can hurt us. I'm probably forgetting some stuff, but those seem to be the ones which are most different from humans."
There was a lot she didn't know; this could be important. But she'd have to mull it over and think how it could fit together. "I'd better get ready for work," she said. "Take me home, please, Raal."
There is a behind-the-writings look at the thoughts, influences, and ideas of this chapter, along with five other sequential chapters of the novel, in mark Joseph "young" web log entry #35: Quiet on the Novel Front. Given a moment, this link should take you directly to the section relevant to this chapter.
As to the old stories that have long been here: